updated 4/6/2012 12:43:07 PM ET 2012-04-06T16:43:07

Guests: Steve Kornacki, Debbie Wasserman Schultz, Nina Turner, Michelle Goldberg, Mike
Allen, Natalie Jackson, Charles M. Blow, Abby Huntsman


LAWRENCE O`DONNELL, HOST: With President Obama`s lead over Mitt
Romney increasing, Romney is now looking for ways he can agree with the
president. And today, he found one.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

RUSH LIMBAUGH, RADIO TALK SHOW HOST: Their new theme is the war on
women. There is no war on women.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: There`s really not a gender problem in the
Republican Party.

REINCE PRIEBUS, RNC CHAIRMAN: The fact of the matter is, it`s a
fiction.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Snap out of it.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Last year, there were 1,100 anti-woman
provisions introduced in state legislatures.

LIMBAUGH: There is no war on women.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We have eight states that are trying to de-fund
Planned Parenthood.

MITT ROMNEY (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I also feel the government
should cut off funding to Planned Parenthood.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We have 13 states that are trying to push the
same mandatory ultrasound bills.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I don`t know how you make anybody watch, you just
have to close your eyes --

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I could go on and on.

PRIEBUS: The Democrats said we had a war on caterpillars, we`d have a
problem with caterpillars.

MARTIN BASHIR, MSNBC HOST: Reince Priebus --

ANDREA MITCHELL, MSNBC HOST: Comparing the controversy over women to
an insect problem.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: They would say if (INAUDIBLE), the women were
hysterical.

JOE KLEIN, TIME: The Republicans really embarrassed themselves.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We do suffer from PMS, patriarchy, misogyny and
sexism.

TAMRON HALL, MSNBC ANCHOR: New controversy at Augusta National Golf
Club.

MITCHELL: The question of whether women should be members of Augusta.

HALL: Women are not allowed to become members.

MITCHELL: Jay Carney has just spoken out -

JAY CARNEY, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: The president`s answer to
this question is yes.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: President Obama seems to be almost picking up the
banner for women.

BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Women are going to make
up their mind in this election.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Women are on President Obama`s side.

ALEX WAGNER, MSNBC HOST: I do want to talk a little bit about Mitt
Romney`s strategy.

ROMNEY: I wish Ann were here, my wife were here -- for a lot of
reasons, I wish you were here.

BASHIR: Why p doesn`t he actually speak to women?

ROMNEY: Any old girlfriends here? I have to be careful.

(LAUGHTER)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: He can`t help it. He was born with a silver
foot in his mouth.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

O`DONNELL: The latest polls are showing the huge gender gap in
President Obama`s favor against Mitt Romney is actually getting bigger.
Gloria Steinem is not content with what is now a 20-point advantage for
President Obama among women voters, Gloria Steinem wants the Obama winning
margin with women to be even bigger.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

GLORIA STEINEM: Whether or not women can determine when and whether
to have children is the single biggest element in whether we`re healthy or
not, whether we`re educated or not, how long our life expectancy is,
whether we can be active in the world or not.

This presidential election is a turning point. We will lose what we
have gained if any Republican candidate were to win.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

O`DONNELL: With the gender gap widening as the Democrats continue to
accuse Mitt Romney and the Republicans of waging a war on women, this is
the best defense the chairman of the Republican Party can come up with.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

PRIEBUS: The Democrats said we had a war on caterpillars, then every
mainstream media outlook talked about the fact that Republicans have a war
on caterpillars, then we`d have a problem with caterpillars. I mean, the
fact of the matter is, it`s a fiction.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

O`DONNELL: Problems with caterpillars, indeed.

And here is the best response that the presumptive Republican nominee
for president could come up with.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

REPORTER: Why do you think you face this gender gap?

ROMNEY: Well, I know that our party has traditionally faced the
gender gap, and I think the Democratic Party has done an effective job at
trying to mischaracterize our views.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

O`DONNELL: Realizing that they have the Republicans on the ropes on
women`s issues, the Obama reelection campaign and the White House showed
today that they will not miss a single opportunity on this issue.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

REPORTER: Day of opening round of the Augusta Masters and the
question of whether the all male Augusta National Golf Club should admit
women refuses to go away. What`s the White House stance on this?

CARNEY: The president`s answer to this question is, yes. He believes
-- his personal opinion is that women should be admitted. I happened to
have a discussion about this with him. So I know that that`s his answer.

But, you know, it`s obviously up to the club to decide. But his
personal opinion is that women should be admitted to the club.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

O`DONNELL: And Rush Limbaugh who loves golf more than he could ever
love a woman who plays golf was not going to take that sitting down. Well,
I mean that figuratively, at least, because Rush takes everything sitting
down.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

LIMBAUGH: Now, here`s Obama, the first black president who says I
think they ought to allow female members. It`d be interesting to track
this. Now -- Warren Buffett`s a member of Augusta National, but I don`t
think his secretary is. And what a slight that is. I mean, here`s Warren
Buffett`s secretary pays a higher tax rate than he does and she`s not a
member of Augusta National but Warren is.

If he`s going to make the Catholic Church pay for abortions and he`s
going to make the Catholic Church give away birth control pills, he can
certainly get women into Augusta. There`s no -- he can just order it.

Anyway, how far can we be from the Augusta mandate? We have the
health care mandate, we`ve got the birth control mandate, and pretty soon,
we`re going to have the Augusta mandate.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

O`DONNELL: I know what you`re wondering.

What exactly does Rush drink during that show? As much as he shares
pretty much everything he can with the audience. That is not something he
shares with them every day, that particular answer to that question.

And staring at a 20-point lead that President Obama has over Mitt
Romney with women voters, this -- turned out to be the one day that Romney
handlers would not allow their candidate to take dictation from Mr. Rush
Limbaugh.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

REPORTER: Any thoughts on whether women should be able to join
Augusta?

ROMNEY: Well, of course. I`m not a member of Augusta, I don`t know
if I would qualify, my golf game`s not that good. But certainly if I were
a member and if I were -- if I could run Augusta, it isn`t likely to
happen, but of course, I`d have women at Augusta.

REPORTER: Thank you.

ROMNEY: Hi.

REPORTER: Governor, do you think that the Republican Party has a
problem with women right now?

ROMNEY: Hi there. How are you doing?

(END VIDEO CLIP)

O`DONNELL: Joining me now is Florida Congresswoman Debbie Wasserman
Schultz, chairwoman of the Democratic National Committee.

Congresswoman Wasserman Schultz, it looks like you have them on the
run. The Republican candidate for president does think it`s OK for you to
play golf now. What next? Do you think they might actually cave on
anything meaningful?

REP. DEBBIE WASSERMAN SCHULTZ (D-FL), DNC CHAIRWOMAN: Oh, gosh, I
feel better already. I feel like my rights have been restored.

You know, what Mitt Romney and the Republicans have been doing to
themselves every single day is showing women in this country day after day
that they are callously indifferent to women`s health, the priorities of
women -- really as evidenced by their obsession with cultural issues, their
obsession with making sure that women can`t have affordable access to birth
control, the dismissive way that the chairman of the Republican National
Committee today chalked up women being concerned about making sure that we
could have affordable access to preventive screenings like mammograms, as
fictional as a war on caterpillars.

You know, if they`re still wondering why there`s an 18-point gender
gap and President Obama is ahead of Mitt Romney by that many points, then
they really -- they really must believe these things that they`re saying.
Shocking.

O`DONNELL: Well, you know, Nikki Haley thinks she has the answer for
Mitt Romney on this issue. Let`s listen to what she had to say.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

GOV. NIKKI HALEY (R), SOUTH CAROLINA: What I would say to Governor
Romney is he needs to reach out to the women. He needs to talk to them
about the issues they care about.

The media thinks that women only care about contraception. That`s not
true. They care about contraception and education and health care and jobs
and the economy.

But, you know, he`s got to do it. He`s got to get out in front of
women and say this is what I believe in. This is why I believe it. Let
the women ask their question and it will happen.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

O`DONNELL: Do you think that`s actually going to happen in the Romney
campaign?

WASSERMAN SCHULTZ: No. I mean I think Mitt Romney has been so
focused on trying to out right wing and embrace extremism that he is really
beholden and tied himself to his support for personhood amendments, his
belief that Roe versus Wade was one of the worst decisions handed down by
the Supreme Court, his support for the Blunt/Rubio Amendment which says
that bosses get to decide for their female employees what kind of access to
health care they can have.

And so every day, there`s another example of how out of touch the
Republicans are. Mitt Romney wants to be president of the United States,
yet he fails to recognize what`s important to women. We just want to make
sure that the guy in the White House is focused on creating jobs, getting
the economy turned around, and making sure that as members of the middle
class and working families that we have an opportunity to be successful to
not just focusing on people who already are.

O`DONNELL: Let`s bring in Ohio State Senator Nina Turner who is also
the minority whip there, and Michelle Goldberg, senior writer for
"Newsweek" and "The Daily Beast."

Senator Turner, I want to go to what Gloria Steinem said in that taped
piece that we showed at the beginning. She makes the point that when --
quoting her now -- "when and whether to have children is the single biggest
element in whether we`re healthy or not, whether we`re educated or not, how
long your life expectancy is, whether we can be active in the world or
not." And there`s a lot of statistical data that backs up every one of
those things she`s saying on a societal level.

That seems to be information that the Republicans just don`t know.

STATE SEN. NINA TURNER (D), OHIO: They don`t, Lawrence. And this is
about personal liberty. For the party that touts about personal liberties
and wants to try to come down on the president because he wants to make
sure that everybody has access to high-quality health care and they`re all
about complaining about a mandate. They`re putting mandates on women in
terms of not allowing us access to contraception and not allowing access to
abortion.

You know, we have a short memory in this country. Women died trying
to attempt to get back out of the abortions. And my God, in the 21st
century, a woman cannot even have access to contraception?

You know, Lawrence, when I was growing up my grandmother taught me
that if you make a mess, you clean it up. And the Republicans have made a
mess and they want to blame the Democrats for their mess. They need to
clean up their mess and they have created chaos in communities and women
are not going to stand for it anymore.

And I agree with Gloria Steinem, we have got to increase the lead that
the president has over Romney with regards to how women are going to be
treated in this country. Do we want somebody in the White House that
respects and love women? Or do we want someone in the White House that
thinks that women are second class citizens? The decision is ours and also
the men who love and respect women.

Some of these people, Lawrence, I don`t believe they were birthed.
Some of them were hatched because they could not love -- they don`t love
women.

O`DONNELL: Michelle Goldberg, I was struck by how quickly Mitt Romney
agreed with the president on an issue that didn`t exist yesterday. I mean,
this was one of those things that came up really fast. The Obama side
responded very quickly, which they`re capable of doing, we know that.

But Romney, in Romney world when there`s something new that`s there,
and oh, by the way, Rush Limbaugh has a position on it, we`ve never seen
Romney react --

MICHELLE GOLDBERG, NEWSWEEK: I guess. But I also think this is kind
of a gimme, right? When you are battling the perception that your party
and your candidacy is waging a war on women, you cannot come out for kind
of naked gender discrimination.

O`DONNELL: OK. Here`s my point. Would he, say, three months ago
before this war on women started raging -- would he have answered that that
quickly? He`s being asked about a private golf club and what should they
do -- wouldn`t he have gone all hands off --

GOLDBERG: He might have gone (ph) and talked about kind of --

O`DONNELL: And talked about how many members he knows there and how
many friends of his own it?

GOLDBERG: Yes, I have many friends who own golf clubs and their wives
are excellent players, something like that.

But I also think that, you know, this is -- the thing is that he can`t
come out on any of the issues that are really have women so worked up,
right? He can`t change his position, at least not right now on
contraceptive coverage. He can`t change his position on choice. He can`t
change his position on privatizing Medicare and Medicaid.

This is an easy one he needs to kind of pander any way that he can.

O`DONNELL: Debbie Wasserman Schultz, we have seen that the
Republican method and in particular the Romney method is that if the Romney
campaign has a weakness, accuse President Obama of doing that. You know,
he`s now accusing President Obama of trying to destroy Medicare. He`s
accused President Obama of trying to invent his own religion and so on and
so on.

And so, do you see any way here that the Romney campaign could
possibly attempt to turn this around on the president and accuse him of
being the enemy of women out there?

WASSERMAN SCHULTZ: You know what you`re describing is there`s a term
for it. It`s called projection. When you have a problem and want to draw
people`s attention away from it, you actually accuse the other side of
actually having that problem.

And so -- I mean, for example, Mitt Romney also was critical -- had
the nerve to be critical in front of a Hispanic audience that President
Obama, you know, has not done enough on immigration reform, to address the
immigration problem. When this is -- Mitt Romney is the candidate with the
most extreme position in history on immigration. And today, in fact,
Russell Pearce, the author of the Arizona immigration law -- the most
extreme law in the country said that Mitt Romney and he are one in the same
and they have identical positions.

And so, we`re going to see countless attempts by Mitt Romney to
project on to President Obama, what he is really doing in the positions
he`s really taking himself.

O`DONNELL: Senator Turner, tell us about the women of Ohio. When
this general election campaign comes to Ohio, which the winner of the
election has to win. Could women decide this for President Obama in Ohio?

TURNER: Oh, absolutely women will. And women are fired up and ready
to go in this state, Lawrence, and we are going to make sure that we
deliver Ohio for the president so that women know and understand that they
don`t have to, they deserve better.

And you know what, Lawrence? Besides the president, the president
needs a team that he can throw the ball to on the state level. And I
encourage all of your watchers to understand that we have to clean house.
We need to clean all the state houses in this nation in terms of having
elected officials that don`t care about women and think that we need to be
treated like second class citizens.

We are not going to take it in Ohio, Arizona, Virginia, we are going
to stand up and fight. We are not going back.

Our foremothers fought too hard for us to have the rights and freedoms
we have today so we`re going to do it for them, we`re going to do it for
ourselves, and we are going to do it for future generation of women.

O`DONNELL: Senator Nina Turner, Michelle Goldberg, and Congresswoman
Debbie Wasserman Schultz -- thank you all for joining me tonight.

And, Senator Turner, thank you very much for reminding men that they
were birthed, they were not hatched.

TURNER: Amen.

O`DONNELL: I think some of them needed that reminder. Thank you very
much.

TURNER: Thank you.

O`DONNELL: Coming up: This week, Republicans are flip-flopping big
time on all those unelected judges that they used to hate. Now that the
Republicans control the Supreme Court, those judges are looking pretty good
to them.

And now that Republicans are giving up their search for anyone but
Mitt Romney, I`ll explain who they were looking for all along and could
never find. That`s in the "Rewrite".

And we have breaking Huntsman news tonight, which will be delivered
tonight by Jon Huntsman`s daughter, and it`s not exactly what Mitt Romney
wants to hear.

And later, the defense lawyers for the man who killed Trayvon Martin
went out looking for easy TV interviews last night at other networks and
they found one. I`ll give you some time now to guess which network gave
the lawyers their easiest interview -- CNN or FOX News? You can tweet your
answers to me @Lawrence or at the show @TheLastWord.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

O`DONNELL: Republican voters are now glumly settling for the prospect
of Mitt Romney as their nominee for president after spending the better
part of the year desperately searching for anyone but Mitt Romney. I`ll
explain what they were hoping to find in their search for anyone but Mitt.
It wasn`t someone with better policy positions. It was something more
important than that. And that`s in the "Rewrite".

And the team of lawyers now defending George Zimmerman in the killing
of Trayvon Martin went shopping for easy TV interviews last night. And
they found one on one of the other news networks.

OK. Here`s a hint. The show was hosted by a white man -- well, OK,
that`s pretty much every cable news show.

All right. Another hint, the show was at 9:00 p.m. In fact, both of
the shows they did were at 9:00 p.m.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

O`DONNELL: So Republicans and the noise machine at FOX News think
it`s perfectly OK to say this.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

GEORGE W. BUSH, FORMER U.S. PRESIDENT: It`s the only branch that`s
unelected and whose officers serve for life. Unfortunately, some judges
give into temptation and make law instead of interpreting it. Such
judicial lawlessness is a threat to our democracy and it needs to stop.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

O`DONNELL: And Republicans and FOX News world think it is a high
crime to say this.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

OBAMA: I just remind conservative commentators that four years what
we`ve heard is the biggest problem on the bench was judicial activism or a
lack of judicial restraint, that an unelected group of people would somehow
overturn a duly constituted and passed law.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

O`DONNELL: Joining me now is "Politico`s" chief White House
correspondent Mike Allen. He`s the co-author of e-book, "Inside the
Circus," available now. Also joining us, Salon.com senior writer and MSNBC
political analyst, Steve Kornacki.

Thank you both for joining me here tonight.

Now, I want you to listen to something that Mitt Romney said today.
And I want you to figure out -- take your time on this -- we get a little
game showy here, a little reality showy here at 10:00 p.m. try to figure
out whether he was talking about President George W. Bush or President
Barack Obama. Let`s listen to this.

(BEGIN AUDIO CLIP)

ROMNEY: How the president thinks that`s inappropriate or calls that
an activist court, he is really very puzzling and very troubling and
suggest this president will say anything, will attack any institution, will
distort the truth with reckless abandon, and in this case in a way I think
is terribly disrespectful of one of the branches of our government.

(END AUDIO CLIP)

O`DONNELL: I`m going to let you think it over --

MIKE ALLEN, POLITICO: Buzz --

O`DONNELL: Just let me --

STEVE KORNACKI, SALON.COM: It`s not George W. Bush.

O`DONNELL: Will say anything, will attack any institution, will
distort the truth with reckless abandon and in case -- so that`s who?
Who`s he talking about?

KORNACKI: It can`t be George W. Bush because there`s no evidence that
any of the Republican candidates know who George W. Bush is.

O`DONNELL: Oh, that`s right. He`s never been mentioned, that`s
right.

Mike, tell us what`s going on here. They are suddenly very, very
upset that a president actually quoting Republicans -- not saying -- he was
using the Republican phrase about them being unelected saying this is what
you guys used to say. And they can`t take it when he says that.

ALLEN: Well, both sides here are working the refs the ultimate -- the
ultimate swing vote. Here you just have one vote on the margins.

I think the president also would take back some of what he said.
There`s going to be plenty of time in --

(CROSSTALK)

O`DONNELL: -- a little bit --

ALLEN: Yes, every day he has. And there`s going to be plenty of time
in July to talk about why this was a mistake. I think they were trying to
build in some insurance. They maybe had a bad feeling about where this was
headed.

But you don`t know where it`s headed and this court doesn`t like to be
strong armed. But I don`t think it helps to have Maureen Dowd said that
they were extremists in black robes either.

O`DONNELL: So we have a response to --

ALLEN: Hacks -- hacks in black robes.

O`DONNELL: Hacks in black robes.

We have a response to a challenge issued to the Obama administration.
We`re going to put it up on the big board here.

ALLEN: This is a very grudging response --

(CROSSTALK)

O`DONNELL: Biggest letter we`ve ever put up here.

This is Eric Holder, the attorney general`s response to Judge Jerry E.
Smith who ordered the Justice Department lawyer in the health care -- the
case that was hearing one provision of the health care law to respond with
a three page. And you`ll see up there three pages, single-spaced,
explaining, does the president understand that the courts are allowed to
review the constitutionality of laws.

And Eric Holder`s letter says the power of the courts to review the
constitutionality of legislation is beyond dispute. And he has three pages
of more words, that don`t mean very much --

ALLEN: Two and a half pages.

O`DONNELL: Yes, that`s right. Yes, he did the three-page thing the
way I used to do in college.

Here`s your third page -- well, there it is up on the big board, it`s
a tiny little page.

Steve Kornacki, what are the politics of this? It`s hard to believe
that the attorney general said, OK, we`ll engage in this without thinking
what does this mean to the campaign, what does this mean to the president`s
politics right now.

KORNACKI: Yes, I think at this point, there`s a strong case that
Holder can make and he made a strong case in that letter, didn`t need three
pages to make it. But, you know, the answer to that question is: yes, of
course the president understands that.

But I think there`s something really broader going on here in what
sort of sparked all this in the first place. And that is I think --
there`s been an effort sort of from the beginning of the Obama presidency,
from the right, the argument that the right decided to make from the
beginning of the Obama presidency was we`re going to paint this guy as your
worst nightmare when it comes to being a left-wing radical, a leftist
radical.

And so what became a very sort of private insurance friendly health
care plan became socialized medicine and a government takeover of health
care. What was, as you saw, a very restrained suggestion that the Supreme
Court may not want to overturn this law became, you know, a president
challenging the authority of the court.

If you want to see the president challenging the authority of the
court, go back and listen to what FDR said when he tried to pack the
Supreme Court back in 1937. That`s a president who was directly attacking
the Supreme Court, directly attacking judicial review. That`s the
caricature that thing right wants to push of what Obama is and who Obama
is.

But it does not mesh with reality. But that`s been the story of this
presidency.

O`DONNELL: Mike, your latest installment of the e-book series on the
campaign, which I actually have an old, you know, I couldn`t hold up an e-
book.

ALLEN: In this space and time --

O`DONNELL: We`re going to hold it up, a little printed version. Some
phenomenal things in here -- for example, what Romney`s debate coach urged
him to change?

ALLEN: Yes, well, we found out that he had been -- Romney had been
doing what he wanted to do and had not really been taking coaching. So
when he finally got a debate coach in Florida, they said you have to
attack, and Romney really resisted that. He said my style is to fly above
the storm. I`ve been better doing it that way.

But they pushed him to attack Gingrich in Florida and it was finally
Ann Romney that convinced him that it was OK. They could do it before the
debate, the two of them went over the side, said a little prayer. And as
you recall, Romney came out just tore his throat out it and worked.

O`DONNELL: All right. We`ll do a quick one as a guess for you,
Steve, because he knows the answer. What Rick Santorum writes at the top
of his debate notes?

KORNACKI: Mention Obamacare and Romneycare.

O`DONNELL: I haven`t gotten to read this yet, but I think it`s going
to be something about God.

ALLEN: You`re so good. You can see why he -- he has the big chair --

O`DONNELL: I promise you I haven`t read it. I took that off the
press release, that question. I haven`t read it.

ALLEN: At the top of his debate notes was left behind on a podium and
in turns also on his speech notes, he writes H.S. for Holy Spirit, to
remind the Holy Spirit to come through him as he`s speaking, makes you
think he may stay in the race a little longer than we might think.

O`DONNELL: There are many of us Catholic school kids out there right
now going, yes, that wasn`t too hard to guess.

Mike Allen and Steve Kornacki, thank you both very much for joining me
tonight.

ALLEN: Thanks, Lawrence.

KORNACKI: Sure.

O`DONNELL: Republican voters are finally doing their duty and falling
in line with Mitt Romney after bouncing from candidate to candidate in
search of anyone but Mitt Romney. They weren`t looking for someone with
better policy positions. They were looking for something much more
important to voters than that. And that`s going to be in the "Rewrite".

And George Zimmerman has a new lawyer to defend him in the killing of
Trayvon Martin. And last night we found a new television spokesman for the
defense team -- who just happens to already be conveniently positioned at
the anchor desk of another cable news show on another network at 9:00 p.m.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

HAL UHRIG, LAWYER FOR GEORGE ZIMMERMAN: When you`re getting your head
slammed on the ground after your nose has been broken, that`s a pretty good
reason to have fear of imminent injury. And you`re entitled to use force,
including deadly force to protect yourself.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And you`re suggesting that`s exactly what happened
here?

UHRIG: That`s exactly what happened.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

O`DONNELL: That`s Hal Uhrig, the newest member of the legal defense
team in the killing of Trayvon Martin, speaking with NBC News today. He
and his co-counsel, Craig Sonner, the man who fled from our studio in
Florida last week, because he was afraid to do an interview on this
program, went in search of friendly interviewers last night on other
networks.

They ran into more of a challenge than they expected at CNN.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

CRAIG SONNER, LAWYER FOR GEORGE ZIMMERMAN: You`ve destroyed him. The
public -- the media has absolutely destroyed him unfairly. And the
conclusions you`re drawing in your questions to me show that you`ve already
reached that same conclusion too.

And what I want you to do and I want America to do is to step back,
use your cool head and listen to the facts.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

O`DONNELL: But at Fox News, they were so confident the interview was
going to be easy that they brought along the man who was paying their
bills, Robert Zimmerman, the father of George Zimmerman, who shot and
killed the unarmed 17-year-old Trayvon Martin.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SEAN HANNITY, FOX NEWS ANCHOR: What do you say to the president?
What do you say to these members of Congress? What do you say to all of
these activists and people that have, quote, "rushed to judgment" here?

ROBERT ZIMMERMAN, FATHER OF GEORGE ZIMMERMAN: I just believe it`s
very sad that so many people are not telling the truth on purpose for their
own agenda.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

O`DONNELL: The answers didn`t really matter much in the Hannity
interview. Everything the defense wanted said was already in every single
one of Sean Hannity`s questions, including this lie.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

HANNITY: This is confirmed, he broke -- his nose was broken.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

O`DONNELL: Joining me now are Natalie Jackson, co-counsel for the
Martin family, and Charles M. Blow, a "New York Times" editorial writer.
Thank you both for joining me tonight.

Charles, it has not been confirmed that his nose is broken. In fact,
let me go to Piers` -- Piers` question last night about what can they say
about the broken nose. I think we have tape of that from CNN.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

PIERS MORGAN, CNN ANCHOR: If you released a picture, an X-Ray of
George Zimmerman`s nose broken, that would be helpful to your case I would
argue.

UHRIG: Well, first of all -- first of all, he`s already been tried
and convicted in the media. We`re going to try this case in court. And
all that evidence will be presented at that time, but not here, not
tonight, and not on this program.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

O`DONNELL: Charles Blow, my feeling has been if they could say, we
will produce medical records of him visiting an emergency room that night
or the next day or any doctor within 24 hours of this event, concerning a
broken nose, they would say they had the records. If they weren`t really
thrilled with how good those records were, they might not show them to us.
But they`d say they had them if they had them.

CHARLES M. BLOW, "THE NEW YORK TIMES": Right. That is the crucial
point here. Is there a broken nose? And if George Zimmerman`s head was
being smashed into the pavement, is there some evidence of a concussion?

And those things can be proven. And if he actually did receive
medical care. What we know now is that the second ambulance was canceled
because the person who was attending to George Zimmerman did not believe
that he had sufficient enough injuries to warrant even an ambulance.

And what we also know is that we see George Zimmerman 35 minutes after
the fact. We see him not even reaching for the nose, not trying to -- a
broken bone is excruciating. There are a zillion nerve endings in the
face. You would be in excruciating pain.

We know that that is not what we see on the tape. We know that the
one witness that was interviewed on CNN, on Anderson Cooper`s show, said
that the person, George Zimmerman, sprang up after the shooting, did not
appear hurt. He never says that he reaches for his head. He never says
that the person is holding their nose, none of that.

So what we know flies right in the face of the idea that someone has a
broken bone in the face, that someone has what would -- we would think to
be a concussion, if they`re slamming his head into the pavement over and
over again. His brother says if it got slammed one more time, he would
have been being spoon fed by his brother.

That means you`re this close to brain damage. That means that there
should be some evidence, medical evidence. There should be some X-Ray that
will back up that .

Now they may want to present that in court. They may not want to
release it to the public. That`s their -- that`s up to them. But what we
know so far does not corroborate that set of events.

O`DONNELL: Natalie Jackson, two things, what would you take as proof
that George Zimmerman suffered a broken nose that night? Or even
reasonable evidence tending toward proof? Don`t even go to the proof
beyond a reasonable doubt standard.

And then, secondly, in the representation of George Zimmerman at this
stage, can you think of any conceivable defense reason why they wouldn`t
answer that simple question on CNN last night of do you have any records?
He wasn`t asking them that they produce it and put it on the table on the
show last night. But just answer the question, do you have any medical
records of how this broken nose was treated?

I cannot think of a single reason why a defense lawyer for Zimmerman
wouldn`t want to say now, if they had them, yes, we do have records of
that. We will produce them in the right forum at the right time?

NATALIE JACKSON, LAWYER FOR MARTIN FAMILY: Well, let me first say, I
don`t think that George Zimmerman`s lawyers are doing any great service by
going on the media and talking about his case. What the public does not
know, and maybe some in the public don`t know, is that the prosecutor --
the special prosecutor in this case is the person that will prosecute this
case against George Zimmerman. And his attorneys will defend.

When you see Ben and I on television, we are not a part of the
criminal case. We are here -- we are representing the family, so that
charges will be brought because there was probable cause for an arrest.
Now, we believe that George Zimmerman deserves a fair trial just like
everyone else.

So when we talk about a broken nose and we talk about those things,
that is for the defense to present in court so that the evidence can be
evaluated by a jury.

Now, do I personally believe that they have that record? I do not. I
think that the way that they`ve conducted their case -- and I mean they,
the lawyers in this, they`re presenting -- and they`re putting evidence out
in the public that they believe is favorable.

I believe a lot of the things they`ve put out are untrue. However, in
the end, it`s going to be up to a jury.

O`DONNELL: Yeah, Charles, I mean, listen, it would slow me down on
this broken nose thing if they would just say we have medical records that
will satisfy everyone that he was treated for that broken nose as a result
of this incident. The fact that they are not, the fact that they refuse
every time they`re asked the question about -- I asked the empty chair the
question when he walked out.

BLOW: I thought I heard him answer.

O`DONNELL: Do you have medical records of this? And the empty chair
didn`t answer either. It`s the same thing. You get them on the show or
not. It doesn`t matter.

BLOW: Well, right. But they could have it. Let`s leave that as a
real possibility. They could have a record that says that the man has a
broken nose. Even if he does, however -- I mean, that helps the story.
Even if he does, I think it`s very important to remember that no one
contests that there was some sort of physical altercation.

Whether or not the Stand Your Ground applies to Trayvon or to George
Zimmerman is the question. Can -- could Trayvon defend -- be legally
protected for defending himself against a man who approaches with a gun who
he does not know and gets within swinging distance of?

So you can actually have a fight and have a broken nose and it still
does not prove that you are innocent.

O`DONNELL: Charles M. Blow --

JACKSON: That`s the point, Charles. The point is -- and that`s the
point that is getting lost. The point that`s getting lost is that George
Zimmerman was told to stay in his car. When he got out of his car, he had
a 9 millimeter, as he chased down, according to his own words Trayvon
Martin.

Trayvon Martin was where he was supposed to be. He was not committing
any crime. And he ended up, after an encounter with George Zimmerman, with
a bullet wound in his chest. That is for a jury.

And that is -- that is why -- and this case must go to a jury. You
have an unarmed teenager where he was supposed to be.

O`DONNELL: Charles M. Blow and Natalie Jackson, thank you both very
much for joining me tonight.

Coming up, the Rewrite is next and it`s about Mitt Romney and Gregory
Peck. That`s next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

O`DONNELL: Mitt Romney was the front-runner at the beginning of the
campaign for the Republican nomination for president. And now he is the
front-runner again and presumed nominee in waiting.

In the interim, Republican voters kept begging for anyone but Romney.
They kept Rewriting the Republican front-runner. They kept crossing out
the name Romney and replacing it with Bachmann, Perry, Cain, Gingrich,
Santorum.

What were they looking for? Not policy positions, because all the
Republicans have essentially the same policy positions. They were looking
for something more, something more important, something deeper. They were
looking for this.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

GREGORY PECK, ACTOR: Now, gentlemen, in this country our courts are
the great levelers. In our courts, all men are created equal. I`m no
idealist to believe firmly in the integrity of our courts and in our jury
system. That`s no ideal to me. That is a living, working reality.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

O`DONNELL: That was Gregory Peck in his 1962 Oscar winning role
Atticus Finch in "To Kill a Mocking Bird." And that`s the feeling voters
are always craving, the feeling you get watching Atticus Finch stand up for
justice in that courtroom, where he knew the deck was stacked against him.

The White House movie theater was filled with that feeling early this
evening, not just because the president was there, but also because Atticus
Finch was there. At the child-friendly hour of 5:00 p.m., the newly
released 50th anniversary DVD of "To Kill a Mockingbird" was shown in the
White House with Gregory Peck`s beloved wife, Veronique, and the Peck
family in attendance, along with a group of students from a public high
school in Washington.

Anyone who knew Gregory Peck, as I did, can tell you that he would be
honored that the president watched his film tonight. And he would be
overjoyed that those young students saw it.

That those young students watched it with the president on April 5th,
Greg`s 96th birthday, would be an extra delight for him. I know today was
a very happy birthday for his family.

Democrats asked Gregory Peck to run for office more than once. Who
knows what might have been if he said yes. Democrats hoped he could be
their Ronald Reagan. Everyone, including President Reagan, agreed that
Gregory Peck was a better actor than Ronald Reagan.

Could he have been a better politician? A better statesman? We`ll
never know. But we do know that Greg could`ve given voters that feeling
they craved, that feeling which was best captured in words by the legendary
film critic Judith Christ (ph), when she wrote this about Gregory Peck.
"Somewhere within that man is the best of us."

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JON HUNTSMAN, FORMER GOP PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Well, it looks
increasingly like we have a nominee in the Republican party. I think
that`s becoming increasingly evident.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

O`DONNELL: What is not evident when you hear that guy say that is
that he actually endorsed that Republican nominee months ago. That was Jon
Huntsman speaking yesterday after pretty much the whole world became
convinced that Mitt Romney has the Republican presidential nomination
wrapped up.

That`s when endorsers of Romney, supporters of Romney, are supposed to
jump up and down in front of TV cameras chanting all the way with Mitt,
stuff like that, something jubilant, you know, triumphant.

Jon Huntsman had more to say yesterday. Let`s see just how triumphant
he could get himself to be.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

HUNTSMAN: And now the challenge, of course, will be how do you reach
out and draw in the independents. I think that`s ultimately where the
election is going to be won or lost.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You think Romney will be able to reach out to
those independents?

HUNTSMAN: He certainly shows evidence of being able to do that. Now
the work begins.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

O`DONNELL: And then came the breaking news today from Jon Huntsman`s
daughter that Jon Huntsman will not be a surrogate for the Romney campaign
and will not be campaigning for him, and quote, will not be out stumping
for him in the general. And that`s why Abby Huntsman, Jon Huntsman`s
daughter, is very welcome here tonight.

ABBY HUNTSMAN, DAUGHTER OF JON HUNTSMAN: You`re going to get me in a
lot of trouble tonight. I`m going to set the record straight. That`s why
I`m here.

O`DONNELL: Yes, set the record straight. Your father hates Romney.

A. HUNTSMAN: Absolutely not.

O`DONNELL: I listened to that carefully. I believe I heard him say -
-

A. HUNTSMAN: My dad endorsed Romney. And he still stands to that.
And he would be happy to go out and help. As far as I know, he`s not been
asked to. I think once they realize they need to get the independents,
they`ll be calling him.

But he would be happy to help, and always does he feels is better for
the country overall.

O`DONNELL: Let`s listen to something he said on MSNBC that might have
something to do with why no one`s called him to say, would you please go
out and campaign for --

A. HUNTSMAN: I already know what you`re going to show.

O`DONNELL: Let`s see.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

HUNTSMAN: Gone are the days when the Republican party used to put
forward big, bold, visionary stuff. I think we`re going to have problems
politically until we get some sort of third party movement or some
alternative voice out there that can put forward new ideas.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

O`DONNELL: OK. See, so it`s not traditional for you to ask your
surrogate to go out and campaign for you after he`s called for a third
party.

A. HUNTSMAN: You know, but I think what my dad talks about is
something that Mitt Romney should take very seriously. He now has an
opening to demonstrate a narrative that attracts American people beyond the
base. That is talking about leadership. That`s talking about bold ideas.
That`s talking about the economy.

He`s spending his time attacking the president. I think that`s --

O`DONNELL: -- watch your father, he`s not spinning anymore.
Huntsmans don`t have to spin anymore. You can just relax. You can just go
--

(CROSS TALK)

O`DONNELL: Go ahead, say it.

A. HUNTSMAN: The party should embrace my dad and say, let`s get back
to that big tent again. We need all ideas here. If we want to win in
2012, we need all people to come together and unite. That`s the only way
we`re going to beat Obama. So they should bring my dad in, I think.

O`DONNELL: Huntsman in 2016 on a third party?

A. HUNTSMAN: If he can do something for this country, he always says
he will serve.

(CROSS TALK)

O`DONNELL: No one is saying no to the third party --

A. HUNTSMAN: You know what? He will serve in whatever capacity he
can. That`s all I can say.

O`DONNELL: OK. Well, you`ve said enough. And your father has said
enough. I think we get it. I think we get it. Abby Huntsman gets THE
LAST WORD tonight. Thank you very much, Abby.

"THE ED SHOW" is up next.

END

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